Post-Socialist Trade Unions, Low Pay and Decent Work
The policy and practice of government and trade unions at the federal level in relation to low wages and poor working conditions
Federal Report Revised
Government policy concerning low pay and bad working conditions
The general course of the government The basic course of government policy from the beginning of the century has been directed on restoration of the balance and stability of the national budgetary system. Continuing favorable macroeconomic conditions – growth of world prices for oil and other energy sources have allowed it to carry out a number of social programs directed at increasing the level and improvement of the quality of life of the population.
Stable growth of income from raw materials in 2006-2007 has made possible the successful realization of priority positions of budgetary policy in the sphere of the growth of wages, increase in the sizes of labour and social pensions and the level of social security of invalids and needy citizens. The basic course of government policy is at present directed at increasing the minimum wage up to the level of the subsistence minimum.
Since September, 1, 2007 indexation of wages for public sector workers of 15 % has been carried out. As a result, for the period 2005-2007 the level of public sector wages has increased by 1.5 times and has reached 2300 roubles a month, that at present amounts to practically 50% of the subsistence minimum (4330 roubles). From February 1st 2008 an increase in wages of public sector workers of 14% was announced. In the federal budget about 33 billion roubles has been allocated for the relevant expenditure item. By 2009 an increase in the size of labour pensions of more than 1.5 times is planned.1
The realization of national projects, in particular "Health" proceeds. For the period of 2006-2007 the wages of medical workers in primary care, emergency services, FAPs (gynaecological and obstetric points) and maternity establishments have been increased almost 1.6 times.2
Apart from the macroeconomic conditions favorable for the realization of social programs, it is necessary to note the period of the pre-election campaigns which were taking place at the end of 2007 and the beginning of the 2008 which created a favorable climate for the development and realization of social programs as a tool of the attraction and motivation of the electorate.
The basic directions of government policy: the role of legislative, tax and collective agreement regulation of wages
In sphere of legislative regulation of wages in 2007 a federal lawhas been developed and adopted «On the amendment of the Federal law «On the minimum wage and other acts of the Russian Federation»»,3 according to which since September 1 2007 in budgetary and non-budgetary sectors of the economy of the Russian Federation the minimum wage has increased 2,1 times – up to 2300 roubles a month.
At present at the government level active discussion of the possibilities of increasing the minimum wage up to the level of the subsistence minimum from January 1 2009 is taking place.
In the sphere of tax policy the tendency to the reduction of the general tax burden on the economy has continued. The relation of the total amount of obligatory payments to the size of the gross domestic product (without taking into account the influence of changes in world oil prices) has decreased from 28,7% in 2004 to 27,4% in 2005. Decisions having been taken directed at the stimulation of investment and innovative activity. Reduction of the base rate of the uniform social tax has provided a significant reduction in the tax burden, first of all for processing industries. At the same time, work has been carried out to realise the second basic aim of reform of the taxation of the wage fund - bringing incomes out "from the shadows", first of all those working in small and medium business.
Work with the regions in the context of a policy of decent wages and working conditions is conducted in two basic directions: delegation by the government of functions of wage-setting to subjects of the Russian Federation and equalization of the opportunities of regions in the sphere of the provision of decent wages and working conditions.
Delegation by the government of functions in questions of wage-setting to subjects of the Russian Federation is reduced to granting to regions of the possibility of establishing the minimum wage.
The federal law which has come into force (№ 154-FZ of 20.04.2007) has brought in fundamental corrective amendments to the order of the establishment and application of the minimum wage in regions, in particular the addition to the Labour code of the Russian Federation of article 133.1. «the Establishment of the size of the minimum wage in subjects of the Russian Federation». This article has provided the opportunity to establish a regional minimum wage for all subjects of the Russian Federation by the conclusion of a regional agreement on minimum wages by the corresponding tripartite commission on the regulation of social-labour relations.
Equalisation of opportunities of regions in providing decent wages and working conditions is provided from federal budget funds in which 16,3 billion roubles are allocated for this expenditure item.4 Interaction of the government and FNPR on questions of wages and working conditions through Federal regulatory authorities Interaction of the government with trade unions is conducted within the framework of collaboration of FNPR with the fraction «United Russia» in the State Duma. The main principles of cooperation are formulated in the program agreement of the two parties on joint legislative work in the State Duma signed in 2004.
Joint work is carried out in the following directions:
realization of the project «Decent Work» (based on the electoral programme of «United Russia» and the FNPR program document «For decent work»);
improvement of labour legislation (trade unions are part of a working group of the State Duma created under the Committee on labour and social policy. One can attribute the adoption of the Federal lawof 30.06.2006 № 90-FZ «On modification of the Labour code of the Russian Federation» to the results of the work of the group;
initiation of additional consideration of the bills discussed in the State Duma, in the framework of the Russian Tripartite Commission;
strengthening of the system of social guarantees.
Strategy of FNPR and discussion of policy at federal and branch levels
This section will review the strategy of FNPR in relation to interaction with federal authorities on problems of increasing wages and improvements of working conditions. Examples of significant recent achievements in these directions will be discussed. The positive shifts are, undoubtedly, pleasing, but I think it necessary briefly to note the atmosphere in the country at the moment of these shifts occurring. As already noted above, the state budget has been smoothly replenished due to the steady growth of raw material incomes, on the one hand, and on the other, the country has had a period of important elections, that, undoubtedly, promoted the positive process. If we ask why there has a fundamental shift in the attitude of the authorities to themes raised by the trade unions from time immemorial, it is possible to answer briefly: «they could and they wanted to», which raises one more question: «What did the authorities get for their agreement»? Certainly, support at elections. And stability in the country, or rather the appearance of stability? Over the last year there has been a growth of the strike movement in the country. Also sociologists and the lawyers working in the sphere of labour relations note that over the same period the branch trade unions which are included in FNPR not only have not supported strikes arising at enterprises in their branches, but have also expressed sharp criticisms of their organizers. This situation is described in more detail in the report on the activity of alternative trade unions. We shall consider achievements of FNPR which at the moment of writing the report as a matter of fact are only declarative.
As already noted, the Government of the Russian Federation continues to follow a policy of distribution of state powers to subjects of the Russian Federation. In addition to this the possibility of transfer of some state functions to non-state organizations is discussed at the top-level. On May, 8, 2008 V.V.Putin in his program speech5 for his appointment to the post of Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation noted:
«I think, we have additional possibilities for the further transfer of a part of federal powers to regions of the country. Certainly, with the simultaneous introduction of a system of objective assessment of the work of the executive authorities of subjects of the federation. Moreover, it is expedient to transfer a significant part of functions which are now executed by state bodies, in the public sector, using further the mechanism of state orders and the capacity of self-governing organizations».
The fact that this proposal was put forward from such a high tribune at the moment of the confirmation of the candidate for the post of Prime minister, suggests an already adopted decision and course of the new Government.
In the previous report the negative altitude of the trade unions to this process was marked. Now FNPR leaders consider that a new stage in the interaction of the trade unions and the authorities in relation to the resolution of the social and economic problems of Russia at the moment is opening up.6 In this respect they have in mind, first of all, successes achieved by the trade unions within the framework of social partnership.
Signing without any report of disagreements of the Tenth General agreement between the all-Russian associations of trade unions, the all-Russian associations of employers and the Government of the Russian Federation for 2008 - 20107.
In the new General agreement the duty of the Government to direct draft laws before their adoption for agreement in the RTK is registered and emphasised anew, as a necessity.
Signing of a Cooperation agreement and interaction between FNPR and the “United Russia» fraction in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the fifth convocation.
Expressed intentions of the Government of the Russian Federation and deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation to pass a federal law on the establishment the minimum wage not below the subsistence minimum.
Let's consider the given achievements in more detail.
FNPR in every possible way emphasizes the necessity not only of the preservation of social dialogue at the federal level, but insists on giving it greater importance. With this purpose FNPR has achieved an increase in the role of the Russian Tripartite Commission and the influence of decisions adopted by it on the formation and development of social-labour relations in the country. Trade unions consider the General agreement the main document regulating these relations at the federal level. The main distinctive nuance of the new Agreement was that fact, as leaders of FNPR especially emphasize, that for the first time for many years the trade unions, employers and government were able to sign the agreement without any report of disagreements. The parties could find th conciliatory proposals on the main disputable point - to increase the minimum wage up to the level of the subsistence minimum. In the new General agreement it was possible to fix the possibility of the establishment of the minimum wage at a level not below the subsistence minimum from December 1 2008 (the decision to increase the minimum wage from January 1 2009 was adopted later).
But relations of partners in the framework of the RTK cannot be called cloudless. So, in summarizing the work of the RTK during 2005-2007, the trade unions had serious complaints about the work of the Government in the Commission. In their opinion, the government side was at fault for the inadequate level of executive discipline and organization of work for the fulfillment of the General agreement.
The government did not always provide an appropriate quality and target dates for the preparation of documents and materials. So,
consultations of the Parties of the Commission on the basic social parameters of the forecast of social and economic development and the draft of the federal budget were carried out only after the Government had submitted the corresponding documents to the State Duma, that contradicts point 1.5.1 of the General Agreement.
Consultations on questions of the formation of projected prices (tariffs) for production (services) of natural monopolies and services of housing and communal services were carried out not at the stage of their development, but already after their confirmation.
For the period of 2005-2007 it was not possible to provide the development of uniform recommendations on the establishment at federal, regional and local levels of systems of payment of workers of organizations financed from the corresponding budgets, before drafts of federal laws on the federal budget for the next year were submitted to the State Duma
In the preparation of drafts of normative legal acts (including, on questions of the establishment of the size of unemployment benefits and labour migration) the governmental side did not always carry out preliminary consultations with trade unions and employers. Only the Committee of the State Duma on labour and social policy strictly sends for conclusion in the RTK of draft laws on questions connected to social-labour relations.8
At meetings of the RTK and its working groups representatives of the government side quite often come who are insufficiently competent in the essence of the cases in point and are not assigned the powers to take corresponding decisions.
«Meanwhile the federal executive authorities are the largest employer in the country; the employer who uses highly skilled, but the most underpaid labour. And in this sense the government too is the most irresponsible social partner, setting a bad example to the whole body of businessmen»9.
The overnment side of the RTK has taken these remarks into consideration and as a result in the General Agreement between the all-Russian associations of trade unions, the all-Russian associations of employers and the Government of the Russian Federation for 2008 - 2010 it has been registered, that the Parties consider it necessary to provide during the forthcoming period the further development of the system of social partnership and increase of its efficiency and undertake to increase the role of the Russian tripartite commission on the regulation of social - labour relations in the coordination of the interests of the Parties10. Namely:
to carry out in the framework of the RTK consultation on questions of the formation and carrying out of social and economic policy;
to provide the unconditional fulfillment of norms of the Labour code of the Russian Federations concerning participation of the RTK in the preparation and discussion of drafts of legislative and other normative legal acts on questions of social-labour relations and economic relations connected to them, developed by federal government bodies, the and for them to take account of the opinions of the Commission;
drafts of legislative and other acts of federal executive authorities in the sphere of labou, and also documents and materials necessary for their discussion, should be sent by the Governmentof the Russian Federation, federal bodies of the government for the consideration of the RTKbefore submitting them to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation or before the adoption of decisions about them by the Governmentof the Russian Federation;
decisions of theRTK, and in the case of unsettled disagreements – the opinions of its Parties concerning drafts of legislative and other acts of the federal executive authorities in sphere of labour submitted to the RTK, should without fail be brought to the notice of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and are subject to obligatory consideration by the Government of the Russian Federation and federal bodies of the government;
to promote the creation in federal executive authorities of permanent and temporary working groups, commissions and public councils, and also the participation in them of representatives of the all-Russian associations of employers and the all-Russian associations of trade unions.
One more important point strengthening the position of the RTK, has been the fact, that budgetary substantiation is incorporated for the first time in the General agreement under the program of joint actions of the parties.
In the business of strengthening social partnership for trade unions the execution of bilateral agreements about the interaction of trade unions and their structures with the authorities is important. For example, the agreement on mutual cooperation of FNPR with the Federal labour and employment service in the sphere of the maintenance of the labour rights of citizens; the agreement between FNPR and the State Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, made with a view to increasing the effectiveness of the public prosecutor's supervision and trade-union control of the observance of labour legislation (including health and safety legislation).
For realization of possibilities of influencing the process of adoption of laws, FNPR sees the need to maintain partnerly relations with the All-Russia political party “United Russia», namely with its Fraction in the State Duma of the Russian Federation. As the heads of FNPR emphasize, the new Cooperation agreement and interaction between FNPR and the fraction “United Russia» in the State Duma of the Russian Federation of the fifth convocation qualitatively differs from the agreement effective in the State Duma of the fourth convocation. In the new agreement the sides have agreed11:
in common to achieve from the Government of the Russian Federation the adoption of systematic measures to improve pension legislation,
to bring the ratio of the pension to former earnings up to the level of not less than 40 percent;
carrying out work on the actualization of the consumer basket and formation of consumer budgets at a higher level of subsistence;
submission to the State Duma of drafts of federal laws providing ratification of some conventions of the International Labour Organisation and other international acts.
The “United Russia» fraction in the new agreement has undertaken fundamental obligations on the adoption of federal laws which are a priority for trade unions in the field of wages, minimum social standards, provision of pensions, labour safety and legal bases for the activity of trade unions, etc.12
FNPR in turn incurs the obligation to recommend member organizations to support regional and local associations of the All-Russia political party “United Russia» at elections to legislative (representative) authorities and representative bodies of local self-management.
Both parties recommended their territorial associations to conclude similar cooperation agreements and interaction in subjects of the Russian Federation.
Achievements in the sphere of increasing wages.
For the period from 2005 to 2007 certain positive results have been achieved in the social and economic position of Russia. According to provisional estimates, the rate of growth of gross national product has been more than 20 %; real wages have grown one and a half times; the minimum wage has increased from 800 up to 2300 roubles; the aggregate number of unemployed was reduced from 6,1 to 4,6 million; the general total debts for the payment of wages has considerably decreased – from 11,9 to 2,7 billion roubles.13
At a regional level - in more than 40 subjects of the Russian Federation higher standards have adopted in comparison with the minimum wage established by the federal law. In particular, in Moscow, according to the regional tripartite agreement the minimum wage from May 1 2008 will be 6800 roubles, from September 1 – 7500 roubles, and the task has already been set to further raise this level by 2009 by more than 30 percent.
On May 8 2008, speaking in the State Duma of the Russian Federation, V.V.Putin called on deputies to pass a federal law to increase the minimum wage from January, 1, 2009 up to 4330 roubles.14 In plans for subsequent years it is proposed to provide indexation of the minimum wage in excess of the predicted size of inflation. To maintain the work of the budgetary sphere in new conditions it is necessary to proceed to new systems of a payment everywhere.
It is clear that the active influence of trade unions provoked a fundamental crisis in the position of the authorities on the question of minimal state payment guarantees. Maybe not as fast as the trade unions wanted, but nevertheless «it is a serious victory»15, as the Government planned to reach this decision only by 2011. Shmakov noted the special merit in this question of T.A.Golikova who, after her appointment to the post of Minister of Health and Social Development entered into dialogue with the trade unions – «a substantial and constructive dialogue, when the resolution of a series of problems broke out of the «dead end»»16. In spite of the fact that the intentions of the government in this question have already been expressed, the issue continues to cause disputes, both in the political, and in the scientific environment. Without going deeply into the discussion, we shall note the aspects giving rise to polemics:
А) Doubts: increasing the minimum wage to the subsistence minimum will radically expand the taxable base, will provide an increase in incomes in the whole budgetary system, will facilitate regional regulation of payment; growth of wages will promote the technical and technological re-equipment of the economy.
Б) Concerns: discrepancy between the growth of wages and the growth of labour productivity; unleashing of inflation; apperance and increase in differentiation in pay across the branches and territories of the Russian Federation.
In connection with the above, the participants of social dialogue have pledged in the General Agreement for 2008-2010 (point 2.8) the task of improvement of the methodology of definition of the size of the subsistence minimum as a whole across the Russian Federation and in the subjects of the Russian Federation, including the idea of zoning (division into districts) of the territory of the country according to the living conditions of the population.
Achievements in the sphere of labour safety (some results). According to the data of technical labour inspection in 200617 technical labour inspectors of the trade unions, together with territorial bodies of the federal labour and employment service, Office of the Public Prosecutor and other territorial bodies of state supervision and control, authorized trade union health and safety representatives:
checks carried out - 107112,
infringements revealed - 343846,
representations, instructions given - 62700
336 draft laws and other normative legal acts containing norms of labour rights, were developed with the participation of the technical labour inspectors, of which 283 (84,2 %) were agreed in a regular manner.
They participated in the consideration of 1886 labour disputes connected with the infringement of legislation on labour safety, obligations stipulated by collective agreements, of which 1585 (84,0 %) were settled in favour of workers.
216 writs were considered in courts with the participation of technical labour inspectors of which 178 (82,4 %) were settled in favour of workers.
The working group consisting of representatives of FNPR, the Russian union of industrialists and entrepreneurs (RSPP) and OOO « Center of work safety and hygiene» in the development of the standard 12.0.230-2007 has developed a draft of the first edition of the state standard on «Occupational safety standards system. Systems of management of labour safety in organizations, manual for their application».
The FNPR technical labour inspectorate has developed a draft «Prevention of the negative consequences of stress and mental pressures at work – position of the Federation of Independent Trade unions of Russia».
Both drafts are at the stage of review and study. The FNPR technical labour inspectorate is gathering responses, remarks and proposals for their updating.
FNPR sets itself new tasks in the field of payment:
To prepare proposals and to carry out consultations concerning the mechanism for determining the size of the minimum wage according to the principles of the European social charter.
To achieve through agreements and collective agreements the establishment in organizations (enterprises) of a constant (tariff) component of wages at the level of 70 percent of earnings.
To achieve inclusion in branch agreements in the budgetary sphere of items guaranteeing a certain level of payment for each professionally qualified group of workers.
To prepare proposals and to take part in discussion of a complex of measures to protect the material rights of workers in case of insolvency of the employer.
To take part in development within the framework of the interdepartmental working group of RTK of proposals for normative legal provision for the introduction in 2008 of new conditions of payment of workers of federal official bodies on the following basis: establishment by the Government of the Russian Federation of base salaries (base official salaries), base rates of wages for professionally qualified groups; definition of the substantiated ratio of sizes of base salaries of professionally qualifyied groups with the aim of providing objective differentiation of the guaranteed sizes of payment of specialists of different skill levels; establishment by the Government of the Russian Federation of the list of obligatory compensatory payments and the list of incentive payments
To carry out analysis of the results of pilot projects carried out in various regions of the transition to branch systems of payment of workers in the budgetary sphere (education, public health services and culture).
In the field of a labour safety18:
To achieve realization through various forms of social partnership the elimination of unskilled workplaces with low pay and unsatisfactory working conditions.
To achieve the creation of effective workplaces with decent wages and safe working conditions, annually to carry out their monitoring and accounting.
To promote the creation of modern and effective system of monitoring the account of workplaces, the state of working conditions and labour safety in workplaces.
To develop proposals for the modification of the legislation of the Russian Federation, including the legislation on insurance against industrial accidents and diseases and the tax laws, aimed at increasing the economic interest of employers in carrying out actions for the occupational safety and health of workers, strengthening of the responsibility of employers for the creation of safe working conditions and of workers for the observance of safety rules at work and the use of means of individual and collective protection.
To develop and improve the system of training in labour safety of separate categories of insured workers through the introduction of new progressive forms of training, in view of branch specificity.
Strategy and tactics of branch trade unions Strategy and tactics of the trade union of workers of public health services of the Russian Federation concerning low wages of workers of branch. The health service trade union continues to assert the need for basic change in the level of payment of workers in the branch. Such persistence in their demands is explained by the fact that the maximum salary stipulated by the Uniform Tariff Scale in public health services today is 5500 roubles. At present the wages of workers in the budgetary sphere, including the health services, consists of a tariff part (salary, the rate) and above-tariff parts (extra payments, estimated in most cases as a percentage of the basic salary, the rate). For each worker the share of these components is different, on average the ratio is 50/50.
Between the trade unions of the budgetary branches and the Government this is not the first year that there has been a particular form of opposition. Trade unions regularly demand a pay increase and try to resist the Government taking unreasoned decisions on this question. The government behaves incorrectly in relation to the trade unions: decisions about mechanisms of increase of wages are adopted without preliminary discussion within the framework of the Russian tripartite commission and the trade unions are confronted with a fait accompli. The tactics of the health service trade union in upholding their demands has not changed – attraction of attention to the problem through the organization of letters addressed to the Chairman of the Government and the President of the countr19.
An example of such opposition is the history of the last increase in pay for workers of federal budgetary establishments.
In 2007 the Government of the Russian Federation offered a new mechanism for increasing pay — in the form of an increase in incentive payments instead of increase in salaries. This mechanism was fixed in the Decision of the Government № 605 of 22.09.2007 and in the order of the Government of the Russian Federation № 1311-Óof 28.09.2007.
The new mechanism provided that from September 1 2007 to current rates and salaries was added an extra payment — incentive — of 15% of the salary (rate). As result health service workers received a real growth of earnings on average of 7 % instead of an increase inf wages of 15%.
According to the Chairman of the health service trade union, trade union it was required to apply maximum efforts to correct the situation a little. As a result the Ministry of Health and Social Development of Russia issued an order according to which the additional payment of 15% of the rate or salary should be received by every worker.
On December 17 2007, speaking at the VIIIth Congress of “United Russia», V.V.Putin recognized that real inflation in 2007 had considerably exceeded the planned parameters that had created the threat of a default of his order about increasing the wages of workers in the budgetary sphere in real terms over three years (2005-2007) by not less than 1,5 times. In this connection the President of the Russian Federation suggested increasing wages of budgetary sector workers from February 1 2008 by 14% instead of the earlier stipulated increase from September 1 2008 of 7%. The trade unions, as well as all the workers of the branch, waited for a real increase in salary. However, the Government of the Russian Federation, as the mechanism of realization of the specified increase, provided an increase not of salaries, but of incentive payments. It also fixed the decision by an Order of March 07 2008.
The Central Committee of the trade union decided to organize pressure on the Government, having expressed its categorical disagreement with the decision adopted. Within 3 months letters and telegrams to the leadership of the country were sent from the trade union, from FNPR and from the Association of trade unions of workers of the non-productive sphere of the Russian Federation. However, in the opinion of the Central Committee of the trade union, it was the appeal to the mass media that forced the leaders of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation to enter negotiations on this problem. On March 27, at the level of the vice-president of FNPR, V.Budko, a meeting between the Chairman of the health service trade union and the deputy minister of health and social development of Russia Mr. Safonovym took place. In the meeting agreement was reached that the Ministry would develop a mechanism for the real increase in the wages of every worker of the size declared by the President.
Simultaneously at this meeting leaders of the trade union firmly declared that if these arrangements were not realized, the Council of the Association of trade unions of workers of the non-productive sphere of the Russian Federation would call members of their trade unions to carry out on April 22 collective warning actions, in the form of meetings and pickets across all Russia.
On March 28 a new draft Order of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation was submitted to the trade union for agreement, and on March 31 it was signed by the Minister: « the Assignments stipulated by item 1 of the Order of the Government of the Russian Federation № 287-r of March, 07 2008, will be used to provide an extra incentive payment of 14% of wages from February, 1, 2008 for all categories of workers of federal budgetary establishments and civil personnel of military units. It is necessary to estimate the extra payment on the basis of the total sum of wages of the worker calculated in the corresponding month in view of all established payments».
The decision adopted is of great importance for workers of the whole branche, in spite of the fact that it concerns workers of federal establishments. According to the new legislation each subject of the Russian Federation, and also municipal authorities independently determine the conditions of payment of budgetary sector workers in the regions. However practice has shown, that in adopting the normative base subjects of the Russian Federation are substantially guided by federal level documents. This situation is aggravated by the fact that about 80 % of them are debtors20.
The attitude of the Central Committee of the trade union to reforms carried out. The trade union is ready to support those reforms and innovations which are thought over, first of all, from the point of view of their social consequences21. Trade-union leaders understand that the introduction of economic levers of management of the budgetary sphere is a necessary measure. But apart from the search for internal reserves and new organizational-legal forms promoting the increased efficiency of budgetary organizations, reforms are also necessary coordinating the mechanisms of receipt of financial resources in establishments and the mechanisms of their expenditure. The trade union considers that modernization cannot be carried out only from above, lowering decisions with a confusing mechanism of their realization, or without them altogether. To uniform standards of rendering medical services there should be corresponding uniform standards of payment for the workers rendering these services on all the territories of the Russian Federation.
At the moment pilot projects of modernization of systems of payment and material resources of budgetary organizations are beingcarried out in public health services, as well as in education,. Within the framework of these projects the establishment of direct dependence of the sizes of wages of workers on the concrete results of their work is provided for.
«In this connection, the Association firmly asserts the position: we support all short stories directed at improvement of the quality of social services, but under condition of obligatory observance of the labour rights and professional interests of workers. That is fair payment, effective health and safety— normal, civilized conditions of our daily work, and questions of a social character — problems connected with housing and the provision of pensions »22.
Activity of the Central Committee of the trade union of workers of the construction and building materials industry (Trade union of builders of Russia) on questions of low wages and bad working conditions The primary goals of the trade union of builders of Russia in relation to increasing the wages of workers of the branch were determined at the IVth Congress of the trade union - by 2010 to achieve a stage-by-stage increase of monthly average wages of members of trade union up to 20-25 thousand roubles.
According to the Central Committee of the trade union, the monthly average salary in construction in 2007 was 15388 roubles, that exceeds the all-Russian level by 105%.
The Chairman of the trade union has emphasized that realization of the task set bythe Congress in the field of payment in many respects will depend on the implementation of the Federal branch agreement for 2008-201023. In the Agreement it is registered:
The share of pay in the cost price of building production (works, services) should be not less than 20-22 %24.
Since January, 1, 2008 the minimum wage (the monthly tariff rate of a worker of the first category) it should be not lower than 1,2 times the subsistence minimum for the adult population in the corresponding subject of the Russian Federation, in view of established interbranch relativities25.
The monthly average wages in the branch should reach 5-6 times thelevel of the subsistence minimum.
In the Central Committee of the trade union they consider, that with the activism member organizations it is possible to achieve the decisions of the IVth Congress of the trade union in the field of pay in 2008. For this purpose the Central Committee of the trade union encourages its member organizations to conclude territorial agreements and collective agreements with the inclusion in them of the key parameters of paydetermined by the Federal branch agreement, and also to register a concrete share or size of the profit to be spent for the social needs of workers.
In the sphere of improvement of working conditions.
The building branch remains as in the past one of the most problematic branches in the national economy. With a view to changing the situation for the better at the beginning of 2007 the leaders of the trade union sent a letter to the Government of the Russian Federation. In it, in particular, they said that the absence at a branch level of a coordinating body of the executive authorities assigned powers to develop and carry out a state policy in the field of labour safety in construction, has a negative effect on the level of industrial injury and professional disease of the whole branch. In this connection the Trade union of builders of Russia, representing the interests of about 1 million members from 74 regions of Russia, considers it necessary to give Rosstroi Russia the functions of management of labour safety in construction and the building materials industry which was seen as superfluous and was abolished during past administrative reform. The Ministry of Health and Social Development replied to the letter that «it shared with the trade unions their stated concern» and promised to solve the problem about the «investment of federal ministries with powers to implement normative-legal regulation in the field of labour safety in their established fields of activity ».
Despite the work carried out by the trade union on accident prevention in production and efforts undertaken over the control of the observance of demands of labour safety, in 2007 there was an increase in injuries, both serious and fatal. In this connection the trade union considers that its role in the maintenance of protection and improvement of working conditions, carrying out of certification of workplaces and control over observance by the employer of labour legislation at present should increase considerably. The builders trade union supports the demand of FNPR to achieve from the state drastic measures for the introduction of the principles of the economic interest of employers in improvement of the work of workers.
The trade union sets itself the task « to apply all forces, to use all opportunities for the achievement by 2010 of a reduction in injuries by not less than 20%»26.
5 From V.V.Putin's speech before deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation at his nomination for the post of Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation on May, 8 2008.
6 From an interview with one of the Secretaries of FNPR, V.I.Budko - Chairman of the working group on social partnership and coordination of activity of the parties in the Russian Tripartite Commission (RTK), vice-president of FNPR, also spoke about this at the session of RTK on February 27 2008. The same motives are found in M.Shmakov's various statements.
7 The tenth General agreement between the all-Russian associations of trade unions, the all-Russian associations of was signed on December, 21, 2007 in the House of the Government of the Russian Federation. It was signed by the coordinators of the sides of the RTK, M.Shmakov signed for the all-Russian associations of trade unions, O.Eremeev for the all-Russian associations of employers and T.Golikova for the Government of the Russian Federation.
8 Other committees do not do this, as the Rules of the State Duma do not prescribe interaction with the Russian tripartite commission on the regulation of social-labour relations though they provide, for example, for interaction with the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation (corresponding amendments have been brought in to the Rules of the State Duma after adoption of the law «On the Public hamber of the Russian Federation»).
9 From the report of the Chairman of the working group on social partnership and coordination of activity of the parties of the Agreement, vice-president of FNPR V.I.Budko at the session of the RTK on February 27 2008 on consideration of the question «On the implementation of the General agreement between the all-Russian associations of trade unions, the all-Russian associations of employers and the Government of the Russian Federation for 2005-2007».
10 From the text of the General Agreement between the all-Russian associations of trade unions, the all-Russian associations of employers and the Government of the Russian Federation for 2008 - 2010 – submitted by the general department of FNPR.
11 «Fraction of the All-Russia political party “United Russia» and FNPR operating in the interests of Russia and its multinational people … .have agreed about the following … » From the text of the "Agreement".
12 In «the Cooperation agreement and interaction between the fraction of the All-Russia political party “United Russia» in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the fifth convocation and Federation of Independent Trade unions of Russia » it is written down, that the Fraction “United Russia» will:
« 2.2.7. achieve the adoption by the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the fifth convocation of federal laws which are a priority for trade unions:
a) In the field of wages – the federal law on the establishment of the minimum wage at a level not lower than the subsistence minimum from December 1 2008 and a federal law explaining the content of the minimum wage,
b) In the field of minimal social standards – a federal law establishing the legal bases and the general order of development, confirmation and application of minimumstate social standards,
c) In the field of the provision of pensions –federal laws directed at bringing by the end of 2008 the base part of pensions up to the subsistence minimum of a pensioner, increase in the ratio of earnings of an insured person and average wages in the country (the factor 1,2 used for calculation of pensions in the formula for converting pension rights obtained before January, 1, 2002), formation of professional pension systems for financing early retirement pensions,
d) In the sphere of labour safety – a federal law amending the Labour code of the Russian Federation, directed at strengthening the social protection of the authorized persons on labour safety, on legislative securing of financing of actions for the improvement of working conditions and labour safety of budgetary organizations of the non-productive sphere and on the definition of powers in the field of the government management of labour safety by executive authorities at all levels».
« 2.3.7 – with a view to strengthening the influence at regional and local levels of deputy associations of the All-Russia political party “United Russia» recommends member organizations of FNPR to support regional and local associations of the All-Russia political party “United Russia» at elections to legislative (representative) authorities and representative bodies of local self-management».
13 From report of the RTK «On the implementation of the General agreement between the all-Russian associations of trade unions, the all-Russian associations of employers and the Government of the Russian Federation for 2005-2007 ». http://www.fnpr.org.ru/
14 From the stenogram of the statement of V.V.Putin at the session of the State Duma on May 8 2008:
«I think, that in the near future we need to make major decisions –major for the economy, for the social sphere, for the budget. Decisions on which, not for the first year, there have been hot discussions and to postpone which further it is neither possible nor necessary. I shall explain, what I am talking about. The agreement of the Party “United Russia» and the Federation of trade unions that it is necessary for the minimum wage to reach a standard not below the subsistence minimum is known. I share such an approach, at the same time it is necessary to understand that there is a huge differentiation both in the subsistence minimum by regions, and in the conditions of payment in branches. We must all understand this practically and take it into account. And effectively to struggle against poverty – and alignment of the subsistence minimum and the minimum wage is, first of all, a struggle against poverty – to struggle with it effectively other measures are necessary. In the opinion of experts and from the experience of other countries these measures can be both more directive, and more productive. Nevertheless, I think that it is necessary already in the spring session to execute the obligations taken on – to pass a law according to which from January 1 2009 the minimum wages in our country should be established at a level of 4330 roubles. I shall explain, why this figure: it is actually the subsistence minimum developed in the country for the fourth quarter of 2007 and authorized, calculated at the moment of adoption of the legislative decision.
To ensure the functioning of the expenditure necessary for it should be taken into account in the budget».
15 The change of the term for the introduction of the new size of the minimum wage implies the need to finish the transition to branch tariff systems of payment.
16 It is really remarkable fact, as former head of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Mr. Zurabov, speaking at an All-Russia meeting on questions of labour migration on July 13 2007 declared that raising the minimum wage up to the subsistence minimum of an able-bodied citizen will lead to a complete deformation of the tariff scale, a compression of intergrade coefficients and the need to increase the volume of financing of public health services and to reveal the level of hidden unemployment which will becomes clear.
17 The data for 2007 will be published later.
18 The full list of tasks determined by FNPR in the sphere of labour safety is provided in the decision of the FNPR General Council «On actions of trade unions in connection with unsatisfactory working conditions».
19 In May 2008 the Central Committee of the trade union sent two letters to the Chairman of the Government: with the request for the need to develop and adopt a Federal program of health-improvement and sanatorium provision for medical and other workers of federal specialized public health service organizations and on the non receipt of benefits for the payment of housing and municipal services by public health service workers living in the countryside and workers’ settlements (settlements of an urban type).
20 According to the Central Committee of the trade union about 25 regions have set off towards the establishment of incentive payments above salaries or have only decided to increase the wages fund, without definition of the concrete mechanism of distribution of the increased part of the payment fund.
21 The Central Committee of the health workers trade union notes, that negative consequences of the reforms carried out have appeared. In particular, there has been a reduction in the network of medical establishments; cases of discrimination against budget sector workers have been noted not only according to their place of residence, but also by branches (budget sector workers living in different subjects of the Russian Federation receive different pay for equal work; health service workers working in the countryside and workers’ settlements (settlements of an urban type) do not receive the benefits received by workers in education, living in the same settlements (subsidies for payment of housing and municipal services).
22 From statement of the Chairman of the health workers trade union at an intercom meeting of the Association of trade unions of workers of the non-productive sphere of the Russian Federation on 4.04.2008.
23 The chairman of the trade union emphasizes that achievement of a reasonable balance of interests of workers during negotiations at the conclusion of the Federal branch agreement for 2008-2010 was promoted by the progressive position of the President of the Russian Union of builders V.N.Zabelina.
24 According to the Federal center of pricing of objects with budgetary financing, the relative weight of workers’ pay in the structure of expenses in 2007 was 10,68 %, for all employees wage costs were less than 16%.
25 If one takes into account, that for 2007 the subsistence minimum for the adult population of the country was 4159 roubles, the monthly tariff rate of workers of the first category in the building branch should be 4991,0 roubles.
26 From interview with Chairman of the trade union.